Joint Conference on Franciscan Unity
Jan 14-16, 2021
During to course of this conference Franciscans of the 4 major ecumenical orders gathered and shared our charism wit all the brothers and sisters who were present. In total there were 28 of us who gathered and shared this time. Representatives from the OFS, the Third Order Society of St. Francis (TSSF – Episcopalian/Anglicans) , the Order of Lutheran Franciscans (OLF) and the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans (OEF – non denominational ) were all represented.
During the conference various topics were covered that included baptism, charism, the Christo-centricity of our faiths, and also our vocation, and mission. After each presentation, there was a time to share in a breakout group of 3-5 people each and as good Franciscans we answered the questions , veered off topic and ended up in joyful discussions sharing the Love of God and Franciscan celebrations that ended way too quickly usually causing up to run out of time right in the middle of some discussion and being dumped back into the larger group.
During the course of this time together is very evident that the charism we shared was strong and how, apart from our individual faith experiences, that we had so much more in common than we did differences.
If I had to say there was any part of this conference that was lacking, was simply that there we such a strong yearning to be able to spend more time together in fellowship with our brothers and sisters to learn more and strengthen our bonds.
In the end it was very evident to all present that we need to work more diligently to seek out our Franciscan brothers and sisters of other faiths and not only spend some time together, but also to share the celebrations of our communities together..
In this case familiarity (getting to know our brothers and sisters in Francis and Clare) will breed contempt ( for the fact that we waited so long to share our Franciscan Joy with them ! ).
Mark R. Banschbach, OFS
That they all may be one ....
Here is the latest Newsletter from the National Ecumenical Commissiion :
Rreport on meeting with TSSF San Damiano Fellowship -
11/21/2020 10 AM EST
Had Meeting with the TSSF ( Anglican/Episcopalian Franciscans) and the community caught up with each other and not unlike the OFS spent a little time in fellowship and catching up with where everyone was in their daily walks, and how they were holding up as part of the pandemic.
Since they only meet every other month via Zoom teleconference and they are also like most of us no meeting in person, there was a great deal to discuss
One of them spoke about the Equal Justice Initiative in central Florida an interfaith group whose focus it is to address those who are of a minority group or what are poor etc. Locally they were working on Memorializing Ocoee, Fl massacre of African -American families and citizens who were attempting to exercise their right to vote.
There was a large lynching that night. Ocoee was burned to the ground. They believe 65 families were burned to death.. the 100th anniversary occurred, and a memorial marker placed in the town.
They had an interfaith Service, for the commemoration – and went all well a clergy member from each faith community was represented .
Janet Fedders – Minister Provincial ( who is for them like Jan Parker their National Minister) – for the TSSF was present and shared that they had expanded into a new country and
The larger community struggles as we do but also doing well.
They have new formation in process to take inquirer, and to love and support them to and through profession and even after profession, where they will be able to journey with new folks so that they feel supported after the initial formation process is completed.
Part I - consists of living their rule
Part II – Entering into service / Action ministry etc. They are offered or assigned to a ministry of service within the TSSF
They have a total of 515 members -
They were talking about the SE Convocation Unlike the OFS, they have not only a regional retreat, but then also both an area( south east, North East, South west or Northwest, retreat, and then a National Convocation/Retreat). – Virtual Convocation is on January 16th via Zoom..
Approx. 4 hours..
Ann Conway who is their Chaplain for the South East, who is like our Spiritual Director, stated that the Native Americans, not unlike the African-Americans are now looking for further reparations for civil inequities as it relates to their own history. This is not only happening in the United States but also all across the Americas.
She suggested that we listen to a song entitled “500 years Annie Humphrey” (8 minutes)
Finally , for those who were not able to attend one of our local Transitus service, they each renewed their Profession.
( Note that they renew and alter a personal rule of like that they each write and offer to live by )
After heart-felt farewells , I was thanked for attending and confirmed that I would be attending the Franciscan Conference on Unity in January with the TSSF team, and the call was concluded.
Mark R. Banschbach, OFS
COMING SOON ! -
In January 2021 there will be a conference with the Joint Committee on Franciscan Unity... Stay tuned for updates from this !